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MSA filing shows PCs out of touch on consumer protection

EDMONTON, AB (February 27, 2014): Wildrose Electricity and Renewable Energy Critic Joe Anglin is calling on Energy Minister Diana McQueen to show leadership following the Alberta Market Surveillance Administrator's  (MSA) allegations that TransAlta intentionally manipulated the market to gouge consumers and increase their profits. 

The MSA alleges that TransAlta “undermined the integrity of the Alberta wholesale electric energy market by engaging in anticompetitive conduct in 2010 and 2011.” The MSA further noted that such conduct was intended to “to create uncertainty that would drive prices higher for forward contracts for electric energy.” Anglin said it’s time for the PC government to step up and protect consumers against the predatory actions of certain companies. “Minister McQueen has got to address this fiasco that is hurting consumers. What is she going to do about these companies that intentionally set out to game our electricity market to gouge our consumers and harm our economy?” Anglin said. “In other jurisdictions these types of allegations result in criminal charges. It’s time to give the MSA some real teeth and give Alberta power consumers some level of confidence that companies that break the rules will be held accountable.” Anglin also noted this isn’t the first time the MSA has caught TransAlta in violation of market rules. In 2011, TransAlta admitted to engaging in activity that manipulated market prices. “Clearly, there are weak deterring factors against repeat offenders,” Anglin said. “It’s ultimately up to the PC government to protect consumers and the integrity of the market. They have obviously failed so far in this regard.”